Friday, October 28, 2011

Defenders Of God's Honor


While reading some commentary on the two saints whose feast we celebrate today, I was given the reminder that holiness is a gift from God, and when He gives it He does not necessarily give it to those who have always led "holy" and devout lives from the start. 
Not much is told of today's two saints, Simon and Jude. We know a bit about Jude as the patron of seemingly impossible causes. In many parishes, my own included, devotion is shown to him each Monday in a novena prayer said along with the novena of the Miraculous Medal. He is mentioned in Luke 6:16 and Acts 1:13 in the lists of the chosen Apostles.
In St Simon we perhaps can see a little more of how God often chooses the least likely to bestow His gift of holiness upon and within a soul. Simon is often referred to as "the Zealot". He was of that ancient Jewish sect known by that name. They were fierce defenders of Jewish law and sometimes took that zeal and defense to violent extremes. They played a large part in the rebellion against Rome in 70 A.D. which ended in the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem.
Now we do not know where on the scale of zeal Simon fell, but we do know that Jesus saw something in him that led to calling him as one of the Apostles. His zeal was turned to love for Christ, His Church and Gospel.
We too are called to have this same zeal. Bl. John Henry Newman defines zeal as " earnest desire for God's honor, leading to strenuous and bold deeds in His behalf; and that in spite of all obstacles." Newman uses the term "holy temper". I just love that! Usually we think of having a temper as a negative, but a temper in line with Newman's definition of zeal makes it holy. Sts Simon and Jude, as well as all the Apostles and saints throughout the ages used God's gift of holiness to develop this zeal.
As Christians we are called to defend our faith. We do not need to defend God; He has no need of that, but like appointed knights, we are called to defend His honor and the deposit of faith handed down to us from the Apostles. Like the Knights of the Round Table in the legends of Camelot who defended the honor of their king, Arthur, we too are to defend the honor of our King and Savior, Jesus Christ. 
May true and holy zeal for God and His house consume us.


St Simon, St Jude pray for us!

*Note: References from Bl. John Henry Newman from Magnificat's Meditation of the Day.

5 comments:

mary333 said...

Karin,
You make some very good points here. Some of the holiest people that I know definitely didn't start out that way. As a matter of fact, when I think about it, the holiest people I know are those that God has forgiven much. They are some of Jesus' greatest defenders too. I know that this isn't true in all cases but I've noticed that it's often the case. Like St Mary Magdalene, St. Augustine, and St Paul, converted sinners are forces to be reckoned with.

Karinann said...

I agree Mary. Sometimes it is said the greater the sins of the repentant sinner, the greater the conversion. Such is the case of all those you mentioned.
Thanks for your thoughts on this one.

Colleen said...

Amen to what you two have written here. And a great post. I love the description of a holy temper. I had not heard that before. Thanks!

Daily Grace said...

I also like the idea of a holy temper! Our family has Greek and Italian roots and we are known to be passionate with our thoughts and temperments!!! I now have a new prayer, "Lord, fill us with a holy temperament.....Beautiful reflection Karinann, thank you

Michael said...

Amen, amen!

God Bless you

Closing Prayer

Psalm 45: Canticle of Love to the King

My heart overflows with a good theme;
I address my verses to the King;
My tongue is the pen of a ready writer.
You are fairer than the sons of men;
Grace is poured upon Your lips;
Therefore God has blessed You forever.

Gird Your sword on Your thigh, O Mighty One,
In Your splendor and Your majesty!
And in Your majesty ride on victoriously,
For the cause of truth and meekness and righteousness;
Let Your right hand teach You awesome things.
Your arrows are sharp;
The peoples fall under You;
Your arrows are in the heart of the King’s enemies.

Your throne, O God, is forever and ever;
A scepter of uprightness is the scepter of Your kingdom.
You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness;
Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You
With the oil of joy above Your fellows.
All Your garments are fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia;
Out of ivory palaces stringed instruments have made You glad.
Kings’ daughters are among Your noble ladies;
At Your right hand stands the queen in gold from Ophir.